Here's a seasonal note, via e-mail, from Bill Slusher in Omak:
"When I was ten years old (the Pleistocene Era), a Presbyterian minister said in a sermon: "Lest ye be lost, ye must be bathed in the blood of the lamb!"
"I thought, that’s it. I’m outta here. This bunch is nuttier than a Georgia pecan patch. Thus ended my short religious life. I came to believe that we’re all agnostics whether we admit it or not, as none of us can prove or disprove any divinity. I grew to tell my children: "Respect they who love their god. Beware they who proclaim that you must love it too."
"Nonetheless, I always cherished Christmas and the story of Jesus, though I was never able to invest my soul in it. I was blessed to have led a life in which Christmas remained a wonderfully special time for me and all our family.
"Christmas has been enormously changed by the passage of time since I was a kid, and not always for the better, whatever one’s religion or absence thereof. Now, somehow, just saying Merry Christmas can actually cause some folks to be ‘offended.’
"But you know what, I’m going to risk it.
"Merry Christmas to all they who serve America in harm’s way this holiday season, wherever they stand guard, however alone they feel, I wish them a safe holiday, and I thank them.
"Last, but hardly least, Merry Christmas to you all, and to all whom you hold dear, however you relate to whatever god, or none.
"May 2009 be the best year yet for us all!"